Category Archives: Opinion

BYE BYE AMERICAN PIE

A few weeks ago an attractive young bartender at a nice new Italian restaurant here in Downtown LA said to me, “Well if I do have kids, it’ll just be one, because in today’s Modern Economy I have to figure on having to be able to support myself and a child. So, I wouldn’t want to take on more responsibility than I can handle on my own.”

Modern Economy? What is the Modern Economy and when did it start? I asked myself.

Well the Modern Economy seems to have started with the election of President Obama. I say this because I have come to realize that the Modern Economy is not about economics at all, the term is simply used to describe the state of our current social condition.

You see if you like President Obama and plan on voting for him again, you believe that his administration has created three million jobs.

If you like Mitt Romney and plan on voting for him, you believe that President Obama has lost six million jobs.

The reality: nine million jobs were lost, three million jobs were gained and there is still six million jobs gone missing.

And it is this ludicrous argument among Americans that defines the Modern Economy. Ludicrous? Yes, ludicrous indeed, because the number that truly matters is the size of the workforce, defined as those people CAPABLE of working rather than those SEEKING work. More simply put, 63% of Americans capable of working are actually counted in the Modern Economy workforce. Of this 63% my research shows that only 43% can actually be considered fully employed.

What does all this mean? Well, it means that in a country of three hundred and fifty million people there’s only around one hundred and thirty six million people that care to work and of this group only about one hundred and ten million are actually working. The conclusion, which we can now all easily reach, is that one hundred and ten million Americans are supporting themselves and another two hundred and forty million people. The fact that one third of our country is supporting the other two thirds is far beyond an economic problem, it is a social calamity.

HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING WELL!!! Continue reading

WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON PLEASE

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. “Write Something About Michael Jackson” was not a blog that I particularly wanted to write, but our readers asked for it, I wrote it,  and as things go it wound up making the downtownster TEN BEST list. 

<Click Here: To Buy Books By Stan Lerner> 

I received a text message from one of my sources at 3:00 pm that Michael Jackson, often called the King of Pop, was dead. This was fifteen minutes before the official declaration and by 3:30 pm the calls, text messages, and emails asking me to write something were rolling in. My initial response to all requests was that I had no intention of writing a story about Michael Jackson’s death. My reason being: that everyone was going to have something to say and that I had nothing to add. I have a passion for writing and or talking—I’m a storyteller by nature, but a good storyteller should have something unique to say or at the very least a unique viewpoint.

<Click Here: To Buy Books By Stan Lerner> 

Over a three-day period I did follow the story. Requests for my attention to it did not cease, some coming from the most unexpected people. As these days passed my response to requests that I write about Michael Jackson’s death changed. I began to tell readers that I might write on the topic of the inconsistent through line that had become so evident in, not only the nonstop media coverage, but among the general population as well. One of downtownster’s most highly educated and respected readers was particularly intrigued by my introduction of the through line concept—and was seemingly not too sure exactly what a through line was. So let me clarify:

A through line is the spine of a story. The concept, first introduced by Constantin Stanislavski, was a way for actors to think about characterization. The idea being that it is not enough to understand what we are doing or trying to do, but rather we must understand our ultimate objective—thus creating a link from action to action that propels us to our ultimate desired outcome.

<Click Here: To Buy Books By Stan Lerner> 

As I watched the first few hours of cable news coverage each channel and commentator had a take and in some cases several. Fox News in particular filled their time with inaccurate information that was astounding. And of course the vile Nancy Grace was already ranting about the children and custody issues. Michael Jackson in a matter of minutes was called a child molester, a music genius, the loneliest man on Earth, an adoring father, a boy trapped in a man’s body, an icon, in debt for 400 million dollars, on the verge of a comeback, worth a billion dollars, and ABC’s Martin Bashir, who did more harm to Michael Jackson’s reputation than anybody, except for Michael Jackson, made a statement that knowing Michael Jackson was one of the greatest honors of his life. This actually caused me to shake my head. I recalled him saying that Michael Jackson’s home Neverland was not safe for children. But the words genuine or honest do not come to mind at the mention of the name Marin Bashir. Continue reading

IRAN

Several months ago I wrote in a downtownster blog that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons – unequivocally. I went on to say that sanctions would not cause the Iranian government to halt their development of a nuclear weapon. I did not mention the not so well kept secret of the uranium enrichment facility built into a mountain, in the middle of a military base, near the city of Qom…I thought it prudent to leave that to our elected officials who are entrusted with the safety of our country, but I certainly did suggest the possibility. And because we begin with some necessary reflection I must also reiterate that the only way to put an end to the Iranian nuclear weapons program is through decisive military action.

My regular readers, no doubt, still pondering my recent call for a force of one million soldiers to be deployed to Afghanistan, might think a second military action in the region over reaching—it’s not. Iran will require a massive air assault aimed at destroying all of its nuclear facilities and a ground invasion that should first secure Iranian oil assets and second destroy the Islamist government infrastructure that aids and abets global terrorism. As a punitive action for flagrantly disregarding international law the Iranian naval fleet should be additionally targeted and destroyed completely. This is the only course of action that can be taken, given Iran’s outright treachery.

Previously I’ve described the scene America will awake to when a nuclear weapon is detonated in one or more of our cities –Washington and New York are the targets. The weapons, which will be delivered through a terrorist network will come from one of the following: North Korea, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, or if it is allowed to continue, Iran. But make no mistake; Iran is exponentially more likely to supply such a weapon, because Iran’s leaders are compelled by ideology and the other’s are not. Literally, Iran’s leaders are not afraid to bring about the destruction of their own country as long as they have destroyed America in the process.

So it can thus be surmised that Iran is a greater threat to America than it is to Israel, but this is an issue of extreme complexity. Continue reading

STATE OF RACE

Over the weekend the state of race relations in America came to mind…Seventy-five thousand protestors marched against President Obama’s agenda…Serena Williams had a meltdown at the U.S. Open…Kanye West went thug at the MTV Video Music Awards…And I attended my friend Kim’s Gospel Brunch in Beverly Hills. All of these events, except for my brunch, have been covered in the media as having a racial component. But interestingly enough the media seems to not understand the state of race in the twenty first century—it’s not what it used to be.

Kanye West (black) taking the microphone out of Taylor (white) Swift’s hands and proclaiming that Beyonce (black) had made one of the best video’s ever was not just rude as the media portrayed it—it was racism, black racism.

Serena Williams (black) outburst over a fault called by a line judge cost her a point on her serve and the match. Her outburst went something to the effect, “You don’t know me, I’ll take this fucking ball and shove it down your fucking throat.” She had already had one warning for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first set for smashing her racket—there was nothing subjective about what took place. She clearly violated the rules of tennis and she was treated as any player white, black or purple would have been. Yet, I sat at Starbucks 15th and Montana (SM) and listened to a woman (black) emphatically explain that, “they took the points away from Serena because they were afraid she was going to come back and kick that white girls ass.” For the record this was not a crazy woman—she works and lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. Apparently the fact that Serena had lost the first set and was down match point meant nothing—because she was black she would at will rise to the occasion and vanquish the white girl. Even Serena didn’t suggest this when she didn’t exactly apologize at her press conference, this woman’s statement—black racism.

When The Factor came on and Bill O’Reilly and guests watched as the all white crowd, seventy-five thousand strong, protested the Obama agenda in Washington DC, they concluded that they weren’t racist, but that it made sense as whites do make up the majority of the population. I stared on in wonder thinking, “is there really not a single black person in America that doesn’t agree with the Obama agenda”. And then I thought of every black person I know, and I know a lot, and I couldn’t think of a single one of them that didn’t vote for Barak Obama. Then I thought about Colin Powell (black), a Republican, a military man, who didn’t vote for his friend, fellow Republican, and military man John McCain. Forty-five million black people, if they voted, all voted for the President? Forty-five million black people, apparently, all agree with his agenda—black racism? Continue reading

California Monsters by Ryne Mading

Foreword by Stan Lerner: I just got this in the downtownster mailbox, I would laugh if I wasn’t in so much pain!!!

During another post graduate day of slaving away at the coffee shop that uniquely helped me achieve secondary educational success….enter Stan Lerner. After a double short latte order and a short chat session, I discovered that Mr. Lerner was just another soulless, carefree, freeloading Californian who had found his way to a most beautiful summertime in Montana.  To make matters worse for Stan, I found out he was from L.A. but unlike most of the native L.A. vacationers in the Montana area, Stan was not reluctant to admit where he came from and his reason(s) (or lack thereof) for the trip to Montana.

Before I continue, let me explain that Montanans are extremely skeptical of outsiders and this is doubly true for those hailing from California.  Big money from SoCal converges with small town modesty in Montana to create a situation where natives are having the lands they grew up fishing, hunting and loving being bought up kept from them.  After a steady climb in the migration of out-of-staters to the most beautiful areas of the state and a relentless increase in the number of natives staring at “No-trespassing” signs bluntly stating that “violators will be prosecuted,” some of the natives have become restless and untrusting. Continue reading

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME?

My writing has come to span a variety of topics. And because one can never truly know what lies beyond the next door I, on occasion, write about what was once reserved for my most personal of conversations—politics and business. You see, I admittedly have a passion for both subjects, but in the ideal sense; what people do in the reality of politics and business brings to my heart darkness, and this is for me a source of great frustration. But in this moment of extreme egomania I can’t help but to think that I may say something that will help others tread on a better path…Business in America has lost its way, and government intervention / artificial stimulus aside, it has fallen, appropriately so, on the members of the business community to be the causation of a now much needed, tectonic like shift in the business PARADIGM.

First, the context of my thoughts on today’s downward spiral of business is from the vantage of growing up, born and raised, to do OLD BUSINESS—my father was a World War II veteran who opened a car lot on Whittier Blvd. and later or additionally an auto parts business—he was a straightforward businessman. Because of my age (44) I came to majority as a businessman in the 1980’s the cradle of the commercial digital revolution, which much to my father’s concern I embraced. The net effect being that I think about business today, as everyone should, in terms of what was, what is and what will be. Or more simply put: did the old way yield a better result than the new way or is the inverse true and worthy of evolution?

“When times are good people drink. When times are bad people drink more!” an eloquent and insightful cliché. Do not step into the trap of thinking that clichés are myths in need of debunking, because more often than not a cliché articulates the most universal of truths. However, not all clichés are born from truth and great harm can come from such ideas.

“If you build it they will come,” a paraphrased line from a movie, now a cliché, but not exactly a universal truth. And be frightened, because this flaw of thought has permeated American business culture. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY MAY NOT COME!!! Please feel free to quote this humble writer. And, because my vocation is telling people about things, I am the first to divulge the obvious that it is in my interest to weigh in. That being said, business is as much about perception as it is product—you can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows of its existence, financial challenge will be imminent, and that simple fact, AWARENESS, only broaches perception. A product can be great, people can be aware of it, and it still won’t sell.

 

American Cars For Example: Continue reading

WHY PAY TO BURY MJ?

The story a few days ago was buried in the Los Angeles Times—far less conspicuously than the King of Pop, who stopped at Staple’s Center to say goodbye to 17,000 of his closest friends. The tale is a simple one; taxpayers are going to get stuck with the 1.4 million dollar expense for security and services required to have had a Michael Jackson memorial service at Staple’s Center. Mayor Villaraigosa, who for the record I’ve always gone easy on (we’re both from East LA and we both went to UCLA), has stated his firm belief that the city should pay for such an event…This firm belief is undoubtedly rooted in the Mayor’s close relationship with AEG and AEG President Tim Leiweki, who for the record I like as a person—even though I often take AEG and his staff to task.

Mayor Villaraigosa should consider this: he was barely reelected against a field of nobodies—if I recall with an embarrassing 55.56 percent of the vote. Although it seems like a strange correlation to make, he has also been the face of LA Live—more than Tim Leiweki President and CEO and far more than Philip Anschutz the reclusive owner. AEG may be a loyal financial supporter of Mayor Villaraigosa, but the company has become so unpopular in the community that the Mayor is now paying the political price for his association. And make no mistake about it—this 1.4 million might be the straw that breaks what should have been an incredible political career—not because it is such a staggering sum of money, but because the city of Los Angeles is in such financial straits—

And it is AEG that should be paying for these expenses not the taxpayers of Los Angeles. Continue reading

WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSON PLEASE

I received a text message from one of my sources at 3:00 pm that Michael Jackson, often called the King of Pop, was dead. This was fifteen minutes before the official declaration and by 3:30 pm the calls, text messages, and emails asking me to write something were rolling in. My initial response to all requests was that I had no intention of writing a story about Michael Jackson’s death. My reason being: that everyone was going to have something to say and that I had nothing to add. I have a passion for writing and or talking—I’m a storyteller by nature, but a good storyteller should have something unique to say or at the very least a unique viewpoint.

Over a three-day period I did follow the story. Requests for my attention to it did not cease, some coming from the most unexpected people. As these days passed my response to requests that I write about Michael Jackson’s death changed. I began to tell readers that I might write on the topic of the inconsistent through line that had become so evident in, not only the nonstop media coverage, but among the general population as well. One of downtownster’s most highly educated and respected readers was particularly intrigued by my introduction of the through line concept—and was seemingly not too sure exactly what a through line was. So let me clarify:

A through line is the spine of a story. The concept, first introduced by Constantin Stanislavski, was a way for actors to think about characterization. The idea being that it is not enough to understand what we are doing or trying to do, but rather we must understand our ultimate objective—thus creating a link from action to action that propels us to our ultimate desired outcome.

As I watched the first few hours of cable news coverage each channel and commentator had a take and in some cases several. Fox News in particular filled their time with inaccurate information that was astounding. And of course the vile Nancy Grace was already ranting about the children and custody issues. Michael Jackson in a matter of minutes was called a child molester, a music genius, the loneliest man on Earth, an adoring father, a boy trapped in a man’s body, an icon, in debt for 400 million dollars, on the verge of a comeback, worth a billion dollars, and ABC’s Martin Bashir, who did more harm to Michael Jackson’s reputation than anybody, except for Michael Jackson, made a statement that knowing Michael Jackson was one of the greatest honors of his life. This actually caused me to shake my head. I recalled him saying that Michael Jackson’s home Neverland was not safe for children. But the words genuine or honest do not come to mind at the mention of the name Marin Bashir. Continue reading

TILLER THE BABY KILLER GUNNED DOWN IN CHURCH!

Dr. George Tiller was attending church in Wichita Kansas when a lone gunman walked in and shot him once, a single bullet, bringing a violent and sudden death to one of the great mass murderers of our time. Warning: if you are a person that believes in the right to choose, or more simply put, that abortion is the innocuous evacuation of random uterine tissue—this post might not be for you. I’ll say this as plainly as I can. I am not a religious man. But I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is the taking of an innocent life—the worst type of premeditated murder.

All of the world’s major religions agree that abortion is the taking of life and should not be practiced, except in the case of saving the mother’s life, and abortion was not practiced without major restriction in the United States until Jan 1973. At this point it would be urbane to launch into a major dissertation on Roe v. Wade, but I’ll spare my dear readers the girth of judicial malpractice arguments made by much wiser men than I—including Justice Rehnquist.

Suffice it to say that most of the great legal minds of today believe that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal in all states, was a bad and severely flawed decision. If there are those among you who wish to comment on how the Ninth Amendment right to privacy translates to the right to commit murder in a case in which a plaintiff in her third trimester sued for rights she believed women in general are due in their first trimester—please do. I’ll be happy to respond.

So, the reality of legalized murder is what our country has had to exist with for the past 36-years. Again, it would be urbane to discuss the decline of our society from 1973 to date, but the facts of this are self-evident beyond any need for description. Not to say that there were no social ills prior to this benchmark, but they were not of the insidious nature of the ills of today. However, I digress. The discussion I would like to have, if only with myself, is how I feel about the murder of the murderer Dr. George Tiller.

George Tiller killed 60,000 babies during the course of his abortion spree and made a million dollars a year doing it. He was one of three doctors in America that would kill a baby in the third trimester. I’ve heard him in his own words say that he had the right to do this. “I have a right to make a living,” were his exact words. He went on to say what he was doing was legal. Right.

I believe in the rule of law. I believe that it is through legal means that unjust laws should be changed. In the past I chose to break laws I considered unjust—I don’t do this anymore. And yet because an unjust law has cost the lives of so many millions of our fellow Americans I can’t help, but to feel some relief that a man who has profited so much from legally sanctioned murder is dead. Continue reading